After the twin pieces of Unleashing the Cataclysm and Gaia, I knew I wanted to push into a darker direction, both in terms of the content and the drawing style. Pillars of Affliction reflects an effort to do that.
I will dive into more detail about the inspiration and symbolism for this one when I share the color art next month, (update: check it out here) but it's enough to mention here that this one was created shortly before the first of several corrective jaw surgeries. I was moving through a rapid series of dental appointments, sometimes two or three per week, and was often on my back with my mouth open for hours at a time with sharp instruments cutting, slicing, stitching, etc. There was a lot of physical pain associated with those appointments, and Pillars very much reflects the time and energy spent toward those things.
As for the drawing style, I wanted Pillars of Affliction to have a rougher, more jagged quality than previous pieces. There was a deliberate effort to make the lines more angular, and I had a much more relaxed attitude toward the overall "cleanliness" of the line work. In addition to the aesthetic considerations, it had taken me a significant amount of time to create the pencil and ink art for Gaia, and I wanted to increase the rate at which I'm producing these drawings.
I also felt I could've done a better job on previous pieces with balancing light and dark areas, so that was something I wanted to continue to work on with the drawing for Pillars.
As always, the drawing began using a 2H drawing pencil on Bristol paper (this one is 11"x14"). When I began, I had a loose vision for the uppermost figure and a general idea of his lower half morphing into something else. The rest of it was improvised as I worked, using mouth trauma as a guide to pull together my influences from comic books, old school metal music, Giger, etc.
Inking was done with Winsor & Newton black Indian ink and applied using a combination of 102 crow quills and round brushes, again focusing on being a little looser and more aggressive with my mark making.
Having worked on a few pieces after this one, I can already look back and understand this drawing as a transition point, and it marks an important shift in the evolution of my drawings as I seek to find myself again after many years away from my art.
Many more details about this one next month in the post for the color art.